SouthCot to expand anti-poverty program

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 Jan) – The provincial government of South Cotabato is set to expand its flagship anti-poverty convergence program to two more poor communities in the area.

Alfredo Galino, provincial convergence officer, said Wednesday preparations are underway for the implementation of the initiative in Sitio Datal Ligaw, Barangay Tasiman and Sitio Blit, Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu town.

“These two sitios are geographically isolated, making government services less accessible to residents,” he said in a statement.

Dubbed Convergence Program for Poverty Reduction, the initiative mainly seeks to empower and transform poor communities into productive areas through the provision of basic services and development projects.

It was initially launched by the local government in September last year in Sitio Traan Leteng, Barangay Kematu in Tboli town.

Galino said South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes earlier endorsed the replication of the program’s good practices in the two remote sitios of Lake Sebu.

He said the Provincial Planning and Development Office is set to gather baseline data and conduct community scanning in preparation for its rollout.

In Sitio Traan Leteng, the provincial government had enlisted the support of some 20 government agencies and non-government organizations for the program’s implementation.

The participating entities initially pledged to pour in a combined P1 million for the implementation of convergence programs and projects in the area in the next three years.

These included the improvement of the sitio’s roads; implementation of capability and capacity training for livelihood, health, financial literacy and community empowerment; provision of arm chairs and other construction materials for its school; conduct of feeding programs; and, installation of additional sanitary toilets.

“We are very happy that we are doing good in Sitio Traan Leteng. Not perfect but the help is felt by the people,” Galino said.

He cited the ongoing construction of a new classroom building in the area that is expected to accommodate students in the next school year.

The farm animals like goats and pigs given last year to some local residents have already “doubled up,” he said.

“With these good results, we are now more determined to replicate the program in other sitios,” Galino said.

He added that the program would continue to expand “one sitio at a time” as a strategy to ensure that no sitio in the province will be left behind in terms of services and development opportunities. (MindaNews)